What does John 9:31 mean?
ESV: We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.
NIV: We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.
NASB: We know that God does not listen to sinners; but if someone is God-fearing and does His will, He listens to him.
CSB: We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does his will, he listens to him.
NLT: We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will.
KJV: Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
NKJV: Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.
Verse Commentary:
A general theme of the Old Testament is that God's attention is tuned to the prayers of those who follow Him, and generally against the prayers of those who oppose Him. While not an absolute rule, this principle takes on a greater meaning when applied to miracles. Elijah used prayer, and God's miraculous response, as proof that his preaching was the truth (1 Kings 18:20–40). Jesus' supernatural works are meant to be "signs" that He is operating with divine power, and godly approval (John 12:37–38; Isaiah 29:18; 35:5; 42:7). For the scribes and Pharisees to dismiss Jesus' obvious power by calling Him a "sinner" (John 9:16) is proof that they're grasping at straws.

This specific point is being made by a man who was born blind, but healed by Jesus (John 9:1–7). Jesus' religious critics have responded to this man's testimony with insults and anger (John 9:28, 34), demonstrating that they have no reasonable arguments to use. As part of this rejection, the scribes and Pharisees claimed to be followers of Moses, but that they did not know who Jesus was or where He was from (John 9:29). The beggar is pointing out that even if they don't know everything about Jesus, the fact that He's performing healing miracles is evidence enough.

In the next verses, this man will continue to apply this theme by pointing out that Jesus' miracle is not only a potent sign—it's a unique sign which no other prophet had accomplished before.
Verse Context:
John 9:13–34 describes the Pharisees' reaction to Jesus' healing of a man born blind. Rather than being swayed by an obvious sign of divine power, they look for excuses and criticisms. Seeking to discredit the miracle, they interrogate the man's parents, who timidly defer back to their son. The healed man knows nothing more than this: ''though I was blind, now I see.'' His matter-of-fact responses to the Pharisees highlight their obvious prejudice. As a result, they excommunicate the healed man from the synagogue. Jesus will meet with the man in the next passage to give more context for the miracle.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus encounters a man who has been blind his entire life. In typical fashion for that era, the disciples assume this condition is due to some specific sin--either the man's sin or his parents' sin. Jesus challenges this idea, and heals the man. His restoration leads to interrogation, as the Pharisees try to discredit Jesus' miraculous work. The healed man's simple, straightforward perspective embarrasses the religious leaders, who excommunicate him in frustration. Jesus is able to meet with the man, explaining more about His identity and the purpose of His ministry. Jesus also reminds the Pharisees that those who ought to know better, spiritually, will be held more accountable as a result.
Chapter Context:
Jesus has begun to actively confront the false teachings of local religious leaders. His most recent debate included a heated exchange with the Pharisees, where Jesus claimed to have existed before Abraham. This resulted in an attempted stoning for blasphemy. Here, Jesus continues to antagonize religious hypocrites by healing a man who was born blind. The ensuing ruckus further exposes Jerusalem's religious leaders as shallow, prejudiced, and false. This event launches Jesus into another lengthy discussion of His ministry, recorded in chapter 10, including several crucial teachings on His role as Shepherd.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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